Copper – a unique metal

Humans have been using copper since the Stone Age. It is now indispensable in our modern industrial era.

Copper is a metal that has been known to mankind for a very long time. People learned how to use and process it over 10,000 years ago. Metal objects made of bronze – a combination of copper and tin – were created during the Bronze Age.
The name “copper” comes from the Roman era, when the metal was referred to as “aes Cyprium”, meaning “ore from Cyprus”. This evolved into the word “cuprum”. The chemical symbol is “Cu”. Copper has its typical copper-red color when in its pure and unalloyed state.

Copper is a metal that can be recycled as often as desired without a loss of quality. Recycling not only saves the energy that would be needed for mining and preparing the ores; melting down recycling material also requires less energy than metal production from copper concentrates.

Our modern life wouldn’t be possible without copper. The increasing interconnectedness in our offices, growing demands on telecommunications, our extensive energy needs and high safety and comfort standards in today’s automotive engineering ensure a constant rise in copper demand. The average car contains about 25 kg of copper – luxury class models can have more than twice this amount.
Copper also has an established role in architecture and construction: apart from electrical wiring made of copper, copper pipes are used in our homes’ water and heating systems as well. Copper is often used for roofing and facades due to its good corrosion resistance and, last but not least, because of its attractive appearance.

Over the years, copper forms a natural patina with a color and chemical composition that is mainly influenced by the atmosphere where it is used. After the initial coloring in different shades of brown, a patina forms over time with shades varying from yellow-green to blue-green. This unique feature accounts for the variety of applications of copper in construction and the widespread use of the material.

 

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